Today I was in Kearney, NE for a quarterly BQA (Beef Quality Assurance) Director Advisory Meeting. What that means is a group of us representing the beef industry, the University of Nebraska (education and veterinary), and cattle producers/feeders meet with the Nebraska BQA Director to discuss the BQA education and training, goals, marketing/promotion, and research needed for the beef farmers in Nebraska.
If you are not familiar with BQA, it is a fee-based, voluntary training program that beef farmers complete with the help of a veterinarian and/or a certified BQA trainer. This is a nationwide program, with BQA Directors in each state in the U.S.! Most of the other livestock species that produce a consumable product also have a Quality Assurance Program. It is designed to provide current, relevant, and research based information to beef farmers on animal husbandry techniques to ultimately ensure they continue to produce the safest, healthiest, and most affordable food in the world!
Beef farmers from all segments can participate in this training – from the people who raise cow/calf pairs to the people who feed cattle in feedlots! From the beef farmers who have 1 head to the beef farmers that have 1 million head – it is literally for anyone! Check out the Nebraska BQA site here, you can also download the training manuals to see the expansive information provided.
I personally like this program not for the resources, hands-on training, and access to veterinarians and beef cattle experts, but because when the beef farmers complete this training they sign a document saying they will be the very best producer they can be. They will only give injections in the approved area of the neck, they will judiciously use antibiotics if needed, they will practice and implement safe handling, moving, loading, and unloading of cattle – and so much more!
By the way, in Nebraska, we have over 3,700 certified producers who want to prove to you they are doing everything they can to ensure our food is safe, healthy, and affordable!